Tag Archive for 'Source Code'

Three Unconventional Ways to Manage IT Costs

David Richards, CEO WANdiscoYou have to run leaner and meaner and so you’re intent on driving IT costs down. But where will those much sought-after cost reductions come from? One area that may not have received the scrutiny it deserves is software development.

The evidence is mounting. When Forrester Research examined the total economic impact of new software development infrastructure, it discovered considerable savings associated with the near real-time replication of source code on servers globally.

In the case of one Fortune 500 electronics company it studied, $776,509 in specific benefits was identified over a three-year period — leading to a risk-adjusted ROI of 150%. By enabling developers in Asia to perform builds locally, the new approach eliminated up to two man-days of idle time each day and increased the number of builds 100%.

Phoenix Technologies, a leader in core systems software products, discovered it could significantly reduce costs associated with production delays and lost man-hours by adopting a similar solution. By enabling continuous builds at six different locations across East Asia and North America, it reduced overall build cycle times by more than 60% and increased productivity by 30%. Previously, over two hours of development time had been lost each day due to poor network performance and outages.

So why have the costs of software development become excessive?

One clear factor is developer inefficiency. This is often a concern when developers are spread out geographically, particularly when many of them are located in regions (such as India and Greater China) with limited network capabilities. You experience clear and irretrievable costs when developers can’t promptly check in their source code to a central repository. Cycle times lengthen and projects are delayed. If time is money, then this is money that’s burning.

Another issue is network performance. After all, network failures happen all the time.. What’s the cost of developer downtime or the inability to access your source code at all? Network performance and downtime issues represent an ongoing tax on software development — imposed in endless delays and lost man-hours.

Yet another factor is the absence of Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD). Companies that implement this best practice test their software builds perpetually to identify bugs, errors and other signs of corrupted code. Through this approach to quality control, they streamline software development.

But companies that don’t engage in this practice run the risk of discovering software problems late in a project, which can lead to considerable rework and long delays. Worst case: they release corrupted code into production. As I’ve written elsewhere, such mistakes can have a devastating impact on corporate finances and reputations. Knight Capital Group saw its stock price collapse and the company took a pre-tax loss of $440m as a result of bad code.

Finally, there is the opportunity cost associated with geographic barriers and boundaries. Many companies bear added and unnecessary software development costs because they cannot source the right talent in the right place at the right price. Because of network limitations, an inability to synchronize development efforts and other factors that hinder productivity, they are simply unable to get the full benefits of offshore development.

Which leads us to the question of how to confront your costs.

How can you intelligently reduce software development costs and, thus, drive down overall IT costs? Here are three proven steps you can take:

  1. Embrace Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery. It’s been written elsewhere that “quality is free.” Ultimately, it costs nothing to implement practices enabling you to continuously test and enhance the quality of source code. You prevent defects on the front-end to ensure they don’t emerge later in the development or, worse, production process. It will save you considerable costs associated with rework and delayed projects.
  2. Commit to Highly Available Source Code. In order to enhance collaboration, avoid developer inefficiencies, and make CI/CD possible, you need high availability. Developers need the ability to rapidly check in their source code to central repositories. Companies need the ability to rapidly replicate changes to source code between servers on a global basis. And you need the confidence of knowing that network performance and downtime issues will not undermine this availability.
  3. Aspire to Software Development without Geographic Constraints. Today’s technologies increasingly make possible what British economist Frances Cairncross called “the death of distance” just over a decade ago. You can now seek the right talent in the right place for the right price. You can realize economies of scale and skill that previously would not have been available to you.

Software development may not have been the first place you considered when seeking ways to drive down costs. But, as a growing number of companies have discovered, it’s often loaded with excessive costs — both direct costs and opportunity costs.

As the evidence suggests, software development represents an important, if under-appreciated, area for achieving new efficiencies. By rethinking software development infrastructure, you can both reduce costs and accelerate your time to market.

And as software is increasingly suffused throughout the overall economy and demands escalate for new releases, you’ll find that that today’s investments in cost reduction and superior infrastructure set the stage for tomorrow’s gains in revenue growth.

 

Cheers,

David

P.S. If you haven’t signed up yourself or your team members, I highly recommend registering for Subversion Live  2012 this October. Use code DAVID45 for 45% off registration. Visit www.wandisco.com/svn-live-2012 to get more information.

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About David Richards

David is CEO, President and co-founder of WANdisco and has quickly established WANdisco as one of the world’s most promising technology companies.

Since co-founding the company in Silicon Valley in 2005, David has led WANdisco on a course for rapid international expansion, opening offices in the UK, Japan and China. David spearheaded the acquisition of Altostor, which accelerated the development of WANdisco’s first products for the Big Data market. The majority of WANdisco’s core technology is now produced out of the company’s flourishing software development base in David’s hometown of Sheffield, England and in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

David has become recognised as a champion of British technology and entrepreneurship. In 2012, he led WANdisco to a hugely successful listing on London Stock Exchange (WAND:LSE), raising over £24m to drive business growth.

With over 15 years’ executive experience in the software industry, David sits on a number of advisory and executive boards of Silicon Valley start-up ventures. A passionate advocate of entrepreneurship, he has established many successful start-up companies in Enterprise Software and is recognised as an industry leader in Enterprise Application Integration and its standards.

David is a frequent commentator on a range of business and technology issues, appearing regularly on Bloomberg and CNBC. Profiles of David have appeared in a range of leading publications including the Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.

Specialties:IPO’s, Startups, Entrepreneurship, CEO, Visionary, Investor, ceo, board member, advisor, venture capital, offshore development, financing, M&A

WANdisco Addresses Community’s Source Code Security Concerns

You may have heard that we’ve just announced a substantial update to our Enterprise Subversion Product, Subversion Access Control. Subversion Access Control 4.1 places an emphasis on security by providing full audit, authorization and access control capabilities that go well beyond what Subversion can offer on its own. Subversion Access Control’s underlying architecture protects against the sort of security holes that have resulted in a number of recent high-profile source code thefts from Perforce’s source code management (including the leaking of Norton AntiVirus source code.) With Perforce, the client completely trusts the server, which means the server has complete control over the client user’s account – leaving Perforce users vulnerable to source code thefts.

Understandably, this has left many Perforce customers concerned – and with good reason: in the software industry, source code is the most valuable intellectual property there is. With this current wave of source code management thefts, we think there’s never been a better time to look into source code management solutions that offer built-in security features. Subversion Access Control’s security functionality includes:

  • Support for SSL to securely encrypt all client server communication, ensuring that all data is protected at all levels.
  • A simple graphical interface to manage the three A’s of security (Authentication, Access and Audit!) Users are organized into teams and rules are setup for each team that defines their level of access to one or more repositories or to within a path inside a repository. Administrators can easily setup sophisticated security rules to the system and all user activity is recorded and can be stored in a relational database.

The Complete Solution Stack from WANdisco

Globally distributed teams are at an even greater risk of source code theft. For teams who need that extra security, it is possible to implement Subversion Access Control in combination with our Subversion MultiSite product. This ensures consistent enforcement across all sites by replicating the Subversion Access Control configuration, with centralized management and no performance degradation, by forcing everyone to go through a central server.

Availability

Want to try before you buy? We have a free download of the just-released Subversion Access Control 4.1 and Subversion MultiSite 4.1, ready for evaluation. Just complete the online form, and you’ll be able to trial both of our security products for free. Need more info on how to keep your source code safe from hackers? WANdisco will be hosting a free hour-long ‘Introducing Subversion Access Control 4.1’ webinar on April 12th. Or, if you would like to speak to us directly about your options for source code security, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Why we got so heavily involved in the Subversion project..

First of all I should point out that WANdisco has products that enable Subversion to perform on various different scales. Subversion MultiSite products provide service over a Wide Area Network (WAN) while Subversion Clustering is our specialist Local Area Network (LAN) system.

Some of the large-scale implementations we oversee have as many as 40,000 users, 2,000 repositories and over 18 million transactions a day. Of course not all of our customers are on that scale, but quite a few are and obviously Subversion is pretty important to them. Actually, let’s not beat around the bush, WANdisco Subversion is critical to the vast majority of those clients – mission critical.

About 18 months ago we started to hear a few murmurs from sources within the industry, including some of those big implementations, that we should really be involved in the core development of the Subversion project.

Why? Well, what happens to most (if not all) volunteer-based open source projects is that they go though phases. The initial phase is the really cool phase – it’s a blank sheet of paper and you have a bunch of guys that basically say “OK let’s go climb Everest… and we’ll do it on a diet of coffee and pizza”.

So many of these projects never get off the ground because the guys that can do that have to be capable of climbing a huge mountain – people like Karl Fogel, Jim Blandy, Ben Collins-Sussman, Brian Behlendorf, Jason Robbins and Greg Stein. These are the kind of guys that would; (a) even conceive the idea of building a brand new SCM product from scratch and; (b) actually get off their arses to do it (the latter is much easier said than done!)

The initial goal of our project was, basically, to create a better mouse-trap than CVS. At the time CVS was the de facto SCM product. Much like Subversion is today.

The CVS project was beginning to resemble the abandoned Mary Celeste. The committers had simply moved on. There was no innovation and proprietary vultures such as Perforce, Accurev and Serena began to circle. Unfortunately (for them) Subversion was coming into view on the horizon.

Subversion had a couple of key features that were missing from CVS including Atomic Commits, efficient binary diff storage, versioning of symbolic links, web access via Apache and the open source license was not restrictive (unlike CVS), meaning vendors could take it and pretty much do what they wanted.

Sounds good, so why the concern?

Well the good news is that the initial phase was a raging success. The moment Forrester Research recognized Subversion as the sole leader in the Standalone Software Configuration Management (SCM) category in 2007 was the moment that everyone knew Subversion was it. The market from that moment was going to be IBM Clearcase and Subversion. Can you even imagine trying to be any other vendor in this market where one product is free and the other is IBM? Game-set-and-match you would think. Well, not quite.

Without corporate sponsorship you don’t tend to get key enterprise features on a product road-map. You’re probably familiar with these kind of projects – they usually don’t involve a UI and have labels like ‘LDAP integration’, ‘security’, ‘performance benchmarking’, and so on. Let’s face it nobody’s going to tackle those problems over a cold beer on a cold November evening. And that’s not a criticism of open source; it’s just the way things go.

And that’s really why we decided to get involved on the scale that we did.

We didn’t get involved to take the credit for creating Subversion. That credit goes to the guys I mentioned earlier.

We got involved to push the creation of a road-map and to tackle the trick un-sexy tasks that just need to get done. We have a fantastic team of open source engineers and we don’t interfere with what they do on a day-to-day basis because they are 100 per cent hired to develop Subversion.

WANdisco is now making some big improvements to the working copy that will be released in SVN 1.7. We are improving the JavaHL bindings so you won’t need to use the third party GPL SVNKit product. Subversion 1.7 is a very promising release that will see not only huge performance improvements but also the beginnings of features that some ‘GIT fanatics’ criticize us for.

The emergence of GIT has brought with it a breed of DVCS fundamentalists – the ‘Gitterons’ – that think anything other than GIT is crap. The Gitterons seem to think software engineering happens on their own island and often forget that most organizations don’t employ senior software engineers exclusively. That’s ok but it’s not how the rest of the market thinks, and I am happy to prove it: GIT, at the last look had less than three per cent of the market while Subversion has in the region of five million users and about half of the overall market.

The problem we saw was that the Gitterons were firing (cheap) shots at Subversion. Tweets like “Subversion is so [slow/crappy/restrictive/doesn’t smell good/looks at me in a funny way] and now I have GIT and [everything works in my life/my wife got pregnant/I got a girlfriend after 30 years of trying/I won six times running on the blackjack table]. You get the picture.

So we decided to do something about it. We pointed out that shelving would enable, if an organization chooses, working in a disconnected mode. Oh boy did the Gitterons not like that. How dare we make Subversion better?!

Thankfully, Subversion has a very bright future and WANdisco is 100 per cent committed to it.  Our  team is led by Hyrum Wright, Subversion’s release manager since early 2008, and backed by others including Julian Foad, Philip Martin, Erik Huelsmann and Stefan Kung(TortoiseSVN).  They’re all very talented and dedicated to the task of making Subversion the best and last centralized version control system.

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About David Richards

David is CEO, President and co-founder of WANdisco and has quickly established WANdisco as one of the world’s most promising technology companies.

Since co-founding the company in Silicon Valley in 2005, David has led WANdisco on a course for rapid international expansion, opening offices in the UK, Japan and China. David spearheaded the acquisition of Altostor, which accelerated the development of WANdisco’s first products for the Big Data market. The majority of WANdisco’s core technology is now produced out of the company’s flourishing software development base in David’s hometown of Sheffield, England and in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

David has become recognised as a champion of British technology and entrepreneurship. In 2012, he led WANdisco to a hugely successful listing on London Stock Exchange (WAND:LSE), raising over £24m to drive business growth.

With over 15 years’ executive experience in the software industry, David sits on a number of advisory and executive boards of Silicon Valley start-up ventures. A passionate advocate of entrepreneurship, he has established many successful start-up companies in Enterprise Software and is recognised as an industry leader in Enterprise Application Integration and its standards.

David is a frequent commentator on a range of business and technology issues, appearing regularly on Bloomberg and CNBC. Profiles of David have appeared in a range of leading publications including the Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.

Specialties:IPO’s, Startups, Entrepreneurship, CEO, Visionary, Investor, ceo, board member, advisor, venture capital, offshore development, financing, M&A